Go Green in 2019: New Opportunities to Reduce Garbage!

Now is the cool of the day.  It’s time to get serious about taking better care of our Earth, and it’s easier than ever to do!

You might think it’s gotten more complicated, though, because of the recent news about recycling: China is no longer accepting recyclable materials from the United States for processing in China (which was a dumb idea in the first place, if you think about the fuel expended to ship stuff across the Pacific!), and recycling plants in the United States are tightening rules about what they’ll accept because of difficulties sorting out contaminants.

There’s a simple solution, though: Make sure your recycling bin contains only items that are accepted by your recycling program!  Recycling’s efficiency is drastically reduced by people hoping stuff is recyclable when it isn’t.  Learn the rules for your local collection, learn where you can take other materials, and sort correctly!

Earlier this year, several religious organizations here in Pittsburgh teamed up to launch a 90-day challenge to reduce single-use plastic.  At the end of the 90 days, we’d built up a lot of momentum, which propelled some of us into starting a long-term organization, Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastic (abbreviated PASUP, pronounced “pass up”).

Now, PASUP is launching a new 90-day challenge!  Join us on Sunday, September 15, from 2:30 to 4:30pm, at Construction Junction, 214 N Lexington Street.  This is an opportunity to challenge yourself to cut back on single-use plastic and join an action team to challenge our community to stop accepting single-use plastic as the default way to do everything.  Try it for 90 days, and you may make a permanent difference!  You might stick with PASUP in the long run, or you might drift away after the 90 days, but either way you’ll learn something and make some new friends.

One great outcome of PASUP’s first season was the creation of the Recycle This, Pittsburgh website, which explains how to recycle (or properly dispose of) dozens of common types of packaging.  It’s specific to the City of Pittsburgh’s curbside recycling program and other recycling options available in Pittsburgh–but if you live somewhere else, it’s still useful for understanding why a particular item is or isn’t accepted for recycling, or for guessing whether it’s likely to be accepted when your local program isn’t answering your questions in enough detail.  It is not true that curbside collection will recycle “any plastic with a number on it”!  Get the facts and get it right!

Wherever you are on Earth, please do your part and help others to use plastics wisely so we’ll have enough for the single-use products that really make sense, like surgical gloves!  If you know about anti-SUP efforts or recycling resources in another local area, please share in the comments.

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